Deepening Roots: Homebuyers Steadily Remaining in Place Longer by Kendall Baer

The Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers has collected data since 1985 on the median tenure a seller has remained in their home and the expected tenure for home buyers since 2006. According to a recent post from the National Association of Realtor’s Economist Commentaries Blog by Amanda Riggs, homeowners are steadily remaining in their homes longer year-over-year. But what economic factors are influencing this lack of migration?

Riggs states that in 1985, the median tenure for sellers remaining in their home was five years. This was the lowest in since data tracking began in the 30-year period. From 1987 to 2008, it was then found that the median tenure for sellers was a steady six years throughout the course of about a 20-year period. Contrary to these finding though was when the median tenure jumped up one year to seven years for sellers in 1997. Riggs notes that as the U.S. housing market entered a recession, the median tenure for sellers began to rise. This went from seven years in 2009, to eight in 2010, and to nine years in 2011. The data showed though that in 2014, the median tenure for sellers reached an all-time high at 10 years, but came back down to nine the following year. Riggs says that market changes in the last decade are the cause of sellers remaining in their homes longer. This has increased the median number of years in the home by 50 percent more than 20-30 years prior.

The report notes that in 2006, first-time and repeat buyers began being asked how long they expected to remain in the home they just purchase. Those first finding reported that first-time buyers anticipated a median expected tenure of just six years. Repeat homebuyers anticipated nine years. But that bumped up to 10 years in 2007, 12 years in 2009, and then up to 15 years in 2010 where it has remained steady for the past six years.

For first-time buyers, the median expected tenure in the home jumped to 10 years in 2008 where it has remained ever since. Riggs says it is no surprise that repeat buyers expect to remain in their home longer than first-time buyers. But that it is interesting, however, to see that first-time buyers in 2006 expected to sell in just six years. In looking forward almost a decade to 2015, first-time buyers expect to sell in almost double the amount of time from those in 2006.

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